After months of debate, on Thursday a majority in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) voiced support for a ban on temporary rental contracts in the Netherlands – although the initial bill has been amended in order to allow for some exceptions to the ban.
New ban for temporary lease agreements in the Netherlands
Introduced in 2016, the Dutch government hoped temporary lease agreements would lead to an increase in the supply of rental properties in the Netherlands and help combat the national housing crisis.
Instead, the government has found that the measure has only led to landlords raising rents every two years when new tenants move in. As a result of the severe shortage of housing, tenants were forced to accept unfair prices and rental contracts in order to secure somewhere to live. Furthermore, critics pointed out that moving every two years meant tenants never really got the chance to settle into a neighbourhood or connect with their neighbours.
The bill to ban temporary leases was put forward by the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) and the Christian Union (CU), and while it is set to pass with majority support and will soon be sent to the Senate (Eerste Kamer) for approval, the initial motion has been amended slightly in order to allow for some exceptions to the ban.
Exceptions for small landlords and student housing
One exception was proposed by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), and allows for small landlords (i.e. landlords with only one rental property) to sell their property after a temporary tenancy – but only if this was mentioned in the rental contract.
Proponents of this amendment argue that, without this exception, some landlords might opt not to rent out their property at all, and point out that homeowners who decide to move in together at a later stage in life should have the option to rent out their properties temporarily so that they have a backup in case their new living arrangements prove unsuccessful.
Other exceptions to the ban include student housing, and contracts for tenants who have had to temporarily leave their homes as a result of extensive renovations or construction work. Homeowners also retain the power to dissolve a lease if they want to rent their property out to a relative.